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Carbon Filtration vs Reverse Osmosis vs Water Distiller

There are a number of methods of obtaining clean drinking water. They range from methods you can use at home to produce a single jug of clean water, taking tap water from the faucet all the way up to massive industrial operations making clean water from sewage or the ocean’s salt water. The three main ways are Carbon Filtration, Reverse Osmosis and a Water Distiller.

Carbon Filtration

If you have watched documentaries from either of the World Wars you are probably familiar with the chemical attacks that were used (now thankfully banned by the Geneva Convention.) When a gas attack was imminent the soldiers put on gas mask with a small tank at the front that the air passed through. These gas masks work using the same process that some water filtration systems use; carbon filtration. Activated carbon is a chemical compound that is very porous and has a high surface area. Using its adsorption properties when impure water or air is passed over it the porous areas of the activated carbon scrubs the unwanted properties from the water. The little holes are latched onto and the impurities are driven in there, leaving clean water. Activated carbon is also used in a medical setting to treat poisonings and overdoses, where it absorbs the undesired substance from the body. The problem with carbon filtration is that eventually the activated carbon is used up and needs to be replaced.

Reverse Osmosis

Osmosis is a process where two liquids try to find equilibrium between their two chemical states. When one liquid is placed next to another with a semi-permeable barrier between them the chemical solute (the chemical being held by the liquid) is passed between the two so that the liquid ends up containing the same solute. Reverse osmosis turns this process backwards. By pressurising one of the liquids it can push the liquids out of equilibrium, where one liquid will contain all the chemical solute and the other will be free of it. Outside of industrial settings problems come from the disposal of the unneeded solution and the amount and size of equipment needed to pressurise the liquid. Reverse Osmosis units will often take up an entire cupboard in a household setting.

Carbon Filtration vs Reverse Osmosis vs Water Distiller

Water Distiller

Distillation is one of the most well-known processes on the planet. Most people know that boiling water kills off bacteria and germs, a water distiller takes this process one step further. With a water distiller the water is boiled and turns to steam. The boiling of the water provides some safety, the steam more. The steam is more pure than the liquid water with many contaminants having a different boiling point compared to the pure water. This means that the steam that is collected and which is cooled by air will be cleaner than the non-distilled water once it can be collected separately. A water distiller is the most basic of the water cleaning options, and also the simplest with all the technological advances that can be easily made when a process is easy to understand and work with.